Thursday, July 31, 2014

Morality Dilemma Like Never Before

Straight from an email...
Incredibly profound.

Article written by Kevin Myers, certainly a different point of view.

Kevin Myers (born 30 March 1947) is an Irish journalist and writer. He writes for the Irish edition of the Sunday Times, having previously been a columnist for the Irish Independent and a former contributor to The Irish Times, where he wrote the "An Irishman's Diary" opinion column several times weekly. Until 2005, he wrote for the UK Sunday Telegraph.
His articles criticise left-wing opinion and the "liberal consensus", sometimes incorporating hyperbole,sarcasm and parody.
This essay recently appeared in The Irish Independent:

Somalia is not a humanitarian disaster; it is an evolutionary disaster. The current drought is not the worst in 50 years, as the BBC and all the aid organisations claim.
It is nothing compared to the droughts in 1960/61 or 73/74.
And there are continuing droughts every 5 years or so.
It's just that there are now four times the population; having been kept alive by famine relief, supplied by aid organisations, over the past 50 years.
So, of course, the effects of any drought now, is a famine. They cannot even feed themselves in a normal rainfall year.

Worst yet, the effects of these droughts, and poor nutrition in the first 3 years of the a child's life, have a lasting effect on the development of the infant brain, so that if they survive, they will never achieve a normal IQ .
Consequently, they are selectively breeding a population, who cannot be educated , let alone one that is not being educated; a recipe for disaster.

We are seeing this impact now, and it can only exacerbate, to the detriment of their neighbours, and their environment as well. This scenario can only end in an even worse disaster; with even worse suffering, for those
benighted people, and their descendants.
Eventually, some mechanism will intervene, be it war, disease or starvation.

So what do we do? Let them starve?
What a dilemma for our Judeo/ Christian/Islamic Ethos; as well as Hindu/Buddhist morality.
And this is beginning to happen in Kenya, Ethiopia, and other countries in Asia, like Pakistan.

Is this the beginning of the end of civilisation?

AFRICA is giving nothing to anyone outside Africa -- apart from AIDS and new diseases.
Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilisation in Zimbabwe, the Begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us out of Africa, yet again.
It is nearly 25 years since the famous Feed The World campaign began in Ethiopia, and in that time Ethiopia's population has grown from 33.5 million to 78+ million today.
So, why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? 

Where is the logic? There is none.

To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn't count.
One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing,
yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of children starving.

Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially.
Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there.
The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a low IQ, AK 47-bearing moron, siring children whenever the whim takes him and blaming the world because he is uneducated, poor and left behind.
There is no doubt a good argument why we should prolong this predatory and dysfunctional economic, social and sexual system but I do not know what it is. 

There is, on the other hand, every reason not to write a column like this.
It will win no friends and will provoke the self-righteous wrath of, well, the self-righteous hand wringing,
letter writing wrathful individuals; a species which never fails to contaminate almost every debate in Irish life
with its sneers and its moral superiority.
It will also probably enrage some of the finest men in Irish life, like John O'Shea, of Goal; and the Finucane brothers,
men whom I admire enormously.

So be it.
But, please, please, you self-righteously wrathful, spare me mention of our own Irish Famine, with this or that lazy analogy.
There is no comparison.
Within 20 years of the Famine, the Irish population was down by 30%. Over the equivalent period, thanks to
western food, the Mercedes 10-wheel truck and the Lockheed Hercules plane, Ethiopia's population has more than doubled.

Alas, that wretched country is not alone in its madness.
Somewhere, over the rainbow, lies Somalia, another fine land of violent, AK 47-toting, khat-chewing,
girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts and housing pirates of the ocean.
Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive, illiterate indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world or allowances by the semi-communist Governments they voted for, money supplied by borrowing it from the World Bank!

This dependency has not stimulated political prudence or commonsense.
Indeed, voodoo idiocy seems to be in the ascendant, with the president of South Africa being a firm believer in
the efficacy of a little tap water on the post-coital penis as a sure preventative against AIDS infection.
Needless to say, poverty, hunger and societal meltdown have not prevented idiotic wars involving Tigre,
Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea etcetera.
Broad brush-strokes, to be sure.
But broad brush-strokes are often the way that history paints its gaudier, if more decisive, chapters.
Japan, China, Russia, Korea, Poland, Germany, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 20th century have endured
worse broad brush-strokes than almost any part of Africa.
They are now -- one way or another -- virtually all giving aid to or investing in Africa, whereas Africa, with its
vast savannahs and its lush pastures, is giving almost nothing to anyone, apart from AIDS.

Meanwhile, Africa's peoples are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecological degradation.
By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million; the equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today,
but located on the parched and increasingly Protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley.
So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly
over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country?

How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them?

Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity!

But that is not good enough.
For self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed.
It prolonged the Eritrean-Ethiopian war by nearly a decade. It is inspiring Bill Gates' programme to rid the continent of malaria, when, in the almost complete absence of personal self-discipline, that disease is one of the most efficacious forms of population-control now operating.
If his programme is successful, tens of millions of children who would otherwise have died in infancy will survive to adulthood, he boasts.

Oh good: then what? I know, let them all come here (to Ireland) or America. (not forgetting Australia!)

Kevin Myers

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vernon's New Tourism Booth

Maybe Tony Scott of Aylesford, Nova Scotia will convince Vernon officials finally--because residents' opinions have fallen on deaf ears--that the new centrally-located Tourist Booth is hard to find.

"...but could not see your bloody tourism office.  Frustrated, we left town."

In fact, impossible to find, as his letter to the Morning Star indicates:

"My wife and I are travelling from Nova Scotia on a long tour of the U.S. and Canada.

We arrived in Vernon recently and could not find your tourism office.

We came in from the north.  The sign pointed to turn left and in 400 metres we would come to the office.  

Then nothing.  We circled the block around city hall and the police station but could not see your bloody tourism office.  Frustrated, we left town.

You lost a tourist and I am angry about it.

We have travelled 12,000 kilometres on our trip and have found tourism offices in numerous cities without having to look for them.

You are doing your town a disservice by not having a readily accessible tourism office.

Adios."         Tony Scott, Aylesford, N.S.

So maybe Vernon Tourism should add one more thing to their list of Things to Do in Vernon:  find the tourism booth!

"Find the booth could become a Contest," offers Kia, "with prizes like a free flashlight or a tank of fuel."

Thanks for writing the letter, Tony.
Heaven only knows, we residents have all tried, to no avail.

Here's the map showing its decidedly vague location.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Regional District Promotes "Fairness"

But only when it suits them.
And it does in this case.

The Regional District of North Okanagan recently changed their "normal" Stage 1 water restrictions (in effect year round) to the new Stage 1 water restriction "normal", which now allows NO WATERING at all on Mondays.


Well, in a press release that defines ludicrous better than Merriam-Webster, the Regional District advises that odd-numbered addresses--whose residences can water on odd-numbered calendar days--were (wait for it....) getting an extra day of watering in the summer months that have 31-days versus their even-numbered addresses, whose residences could only water on even-numbered calendar days.

Earth shattering?
Not quite.

But it's for the "equity side of things so everyone has three days", said a spokesperson from the Regional District.

How considerate of them to view fairness and equity for the public.

So when does it NOT suit the Regional District to be fair and equitable, as the first paragraph here implies?

Quite often, actually.

The inequity part of the story that the Regional District creates will wait for another day (to be published some time next week).

It'd be laughable if it weren't so disgusting.

"Wonder how many committee meetings they had to create the new Normal water restriction," grins Kia. 

The deity known as the North Okanagan Regional District practices its omnipotence.

The Regional District's accounting department will need another meeting to remind officials that water revenues are, again, falling.
So a water rate increase seems prudent.


Thank goodness the Regional District doesn't have have the authority to rescind summer.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Graft and Corruption the New Norm?

"I made a big mistake," says former Liberal cabinet minister and Mayor of London Ontario, Joe Fontana.
Ya think?

Some role model for everyday working folks.
If we're a penny short on a Canada Revenue remittance, all hell breaks loose with threats of audits and interest charges from the Feds.

Joe Fontana was last week sentenced to a $1,000 fine and four-month house arrest for his crimes of fraud, breach of trust and forgery (yes, forgery!), as reported by

House arrest for fraud?
House arrest for forgery?
House arrest for breach of trust as a public official?
Those crimes should land him in jail for at least two years!

The real slap in the face to taxpayers is that Fontana abused his authority, yet will continue to collect an estimated $122,000 a year pension as a former Member of Parliament.

How outrageous is that!

But there's hope.
Bill C-518 will be debated this week, and if passed--and most people hope it does pass unaltered--would ensure that:

Under the proposed legislation, any MP or senator convicted of an indictable offence that carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison would only keep what they put into the pension plan, losing the generous government contribution.

And Senators too...
Look at these three visages that we've all seen far too much of. 
Most recently Duffy has been charged with 31 offences, including Bribery!
Then there's Brazeau and Wallin...
Their criminal activities must get them a minimum sentence of two years in jail.  
Jail...not a spa retreat.

As you and I would receive.

So we should demand that house arrest be withdrawn and that the full extent of the law be applied.

Contact your MP and tell them to pass Bill C-518.  To find out the email address for your Member of Parliament, click here

A big thank you to New Brunswick Conservative MP John Williamson for putting forward the private member's bill. 
He might like to receive a thank you too!  His email address: 


"Holy moly," says Kia, "some role models indeed".

Throw the book at 'em.

And then throw away the jail key.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Speaking Plainly

...So refreshing in many ways when plain-speak follows government's incessant ideas.

Whether it's the national TV weatherman reminding viewers to wear sunscreen or the daily news anchor suggesting you not head out in the family sedan without checking tire pressure, or reminding people to watch their toddlers at the's all getting to be a bit much...for a lot of people.

Including Armstrong Councillor John Trainor.
And good for him!

Following a Powerpoint presentation by the Canadian Cancer Society where they and Interior Health reps requested that Armstrong develop an anti-smoking bylaw, John Trainor had obviously had enough.

"We have a group coming to us who are an obvious paid dog-and-pony show sent out by the Interior Health Authority asking us to create more rules for more people because apparently we don't have the common sense to do anything for ourselves without some government organization telling us we need to do it.  It's ridiculous," said John Trainer.

Council subsequently opted to investigate anti-smoking bylaws around public buildings which is really the only duty within their purview.

Mr. Trainor was likely happy to see the group's tail lights when they drove away...albeit not in a Prius.

"Government should remind people to provide fresh water for their dogs," suggests Kia.

That was on the news this morning too, Kia.

Kudos to John Trainor for speaking plainly.
It's a rare art.

Friday, July 18, 2014

How Many Trailer Drivers Does It Take? prove the new Tourism Booth, smack-center in downtown Vernon, is a mistake, its location chosen for the wrong reasons.

Interesting letter today from Paul Elmont:

"New Location Fails Trailer Test:

Hey Vernonites, I'm not laughing and I don't think you will either.  

Please take a drive, see for yourself and make a difference before it's too late.

I drive a one-ton truck with a fifth-wheel trailer and I consider my driving skills to be better than adequate.  I took a drive the other day to see what a tourist would be faced with at our new tourism information centre.

I am positive the decision made to close down the north and south info centres was based strictly on money.

The decision was definitely not made by someone who actually pulls a trailer.

The next time you take your trailer out, please try out our new info center.  I need to say no more.
At the very least, just drive into the info centre with your truck and envision pulling a trailer.

Please stop the people in city hall in Vernon, who actually work for us, from wasting our money and upsetting the tourists who come here.

It never seems to matter what we say.  City hall just does what it wants.

By the way, what is gong to happen to the old info centres?

Is private business waiting in the wings for some of the most lucrative real estate entering our city?"

Paul Elmont

"Maybe tourists need more than five wheels," offers Kia.

Heaven forbid a 16-wheeler needs directions...

So How Does It Feel?

Seems Coldstream politicians are flabbergasted.
Same with Regional District politicians, in whose area (Area B) Cosens Bay is situated.

Now they know how the public feels when things have already been discussed and decided in-camera, despite the public being encouraged to provide their input.

Politicians are crying foul they knew nothing about provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure plans to widen Cosens Bay Road, through Kalamalka Lake Park--by a whopping 30 metres to accommodate new B.C. Hydro infrastructure and ditching--culminating at/near the private cabins at Cosens Bay.

Cabin owners at Cosens Bay have lobbied both local and provincial governments for a long time.
I remember reading their letters over the years (the name Klim comes to mind). 

Despite looking for the Cosens Bay road widening plans on the provincial website, I couldn't find it, so readers are encouraged to search here themselves. An interesting--albeit 78 page--Cosens Bay Lagoon study is here.

A map of Cosens Bay and Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, showing the road which leads to private cabins is here.

Today's editorial in the Morning Star states "the proposed plans were revealed to Coldstream council in an in-camera meeting Monday".  While topic outcomes are often decided in-camera, provincial legislation bars topics discussed at in-camera meetings from being released publicly, so the info was likely discussed during the regular council meeting that preceded the in-camera session.
Or maybe the newspaper is correct.

So how does it feel, politicians, to learn of something--supposedly within your purview--to which you haven't been made privy until the eleventh hour?

As though to underscore that, another news article today, entitled "Officials Meet Privately" augments the reaction.  The public is left wondering again.

Seems the Regional District held a rare joint meeting with politicians of Coldstream and Vernon, and all that was released was that "it's...affected all jurisdictions," and that "it's the most efficient mechanism to deal with an issue that's time sensitive," explaining why it had to be discussed before the regional district's regular July meeting.

So what is it?

"Maybe bureaucrats' underhanded and non transparent tactics and abject lack of procedural fairness re private fire hydrants," suggests Kia.

Ya think?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Langdon Fails "Listening"

Multi-Material B.C. managing director Allen Langdon was apparently in the North Okanagan on Monday July 14, 2014, "meeting with local politicians", as reported in the Morning Star.

Too bad residents didn't know of his visit until after he was gone.

Picture what would've occurred had we known.
Picture a luxury rental car entirely covered and surrounded (maybe even taped to the car *grin*) by blue bags--containing "no longer acceptable in bins" overwrap, vegetable and plastic bags.

Multiply this photo by, oh, about 300 bags from disgruntled North Okanagan residents.  And picture Langdon's car under the pile.

Alas, a missed opportunity for worthwhile civil disobedience.

We hope that our politicians gave Langdon an earful.
Unfortunately the newspaper didn't seek to dig into whether Langdon heard anything disparaging about their ridiculous "new" program.

There's been a lot said about MMBC, even by corporations, and here and here and here and here and here.

Vernon Mayor Sawatzky asked Langdon why the new recycling bins weren't wheeled and have lids because other communities have that.

Langdon's reply?
Apparently those communities had wheeled and covered bins before MMBC began and those containers have remained in use.

It wasn't lost on politicians that Langdon hadn't been asked when those communities got their bins.

Oh well, recycling depots are now open in Lumby, downtown Vernon, Spallumcheen.

And to think we were wondering what to do with the spare room!

"The Mafia have never been good listeners," offers Kia.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Greater Vernon Water Update from Regional District

A misleading statement -- maybe more than one? -- from the latest insert that arrived with quarterly water invoices.

Let's see what they said:

"The Greater Vernon Water domestic fee structure has an "infrastructure base fee" and "tiered" metered water use Fee.  Non Domestic (Industrial, Commercial, Institutional) customers have a similar Infrastructure Base Fee but, a singled meter water use Fee of $1.50/m3.  The Infrastructure Base Fee supports the fixed costs of the water system -- treatment plants, fire protection (hydrants), pipes, and other equipment.  The tiered metered use Fee covers some operational costs and is meant to encourage customers to conserve water.  Those who conserve will benefit from a lower water bill.
Agricultural customers are charged a similar escalating tiered rate for water use above their allocated volume.  A new Off Season Agricultural Water Use Fee has also been approved and is $0.75/m3."

So...what's misleading?

"Those who conserve will benefit from a lower water bill."

Highlands Golf has a water allocation.
Has had one since about 1975 when the property was purchased and then planted to apple trees.  Over the years, more allocation was purchased to prepare for course water requirements.

So let's look at Highlands' allocation and compare it to actual (metered) water usage:

Allocation 10.0035 acres water = 22,275 cubic meters allowed per year.

2011: 2,986 cubic meters  =  13.4 % of paid-up allocation

2012: 2,953 cubic meters =  13.2% of paid-up allocation

2013:  3,162 cubic metres = 14.2% of paid-up allocation

"Those who conserve will benefit from a lower water bill."

Could there be other misleading statements in the "financial" preamble to the $70 million borrowing referendum (this November) on the Master Water Plan in this update....

"Maybe your congratulatory medal is being struck," offers Kia.

Struck indeed.